Saturday, December 24, 2011

Day 10: An Afternoon at the Opera Garnier

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” Henry Miller.
After enjoying the ballet "Oneguine" at the Opera Garnier or the Opera de Paris, I felt as if I had seen ballet for the very first time.
A few months back, I made sure to book tickets to the Opera de Paris, an iconic part of the Paris landscape. I had passed by it many times, always wishing that I could go in and watch a performance and this year, it was one of the many things I crossed off my wish list for Paris.

The Opera de Paris was built in the 1860s for the Paris Opera. It is a beautiful example of the beaux arts style and is credited to the architect Charles Garnier.
Today, it is primarily the home of the Ballet group of the Paris Opera, the newer and bigger Opera Bastille is where most of the musical performances are done.

Inside the 1900 seater opera house I gaze up and marvel at the brilliant chandelier and also the colorful and gorgeous ceiling painted and donated by Marc Chagall.
Seeing the huge chandelier on top of us, I have visions of it crashing down --imagining a scene from the Phantom of the Opera -- which was set in the Opera de Paris.

We are seated on plush, comfortable red velvet chairs, not at all threadbare or worn.
Each chair is positioned so that nothing impedes your vision, not even if the person sitting in front of you is unusually tall.
We have very good seats in the balcony, just three rows behind the orchestra section.
This gives us a great view of the stage.

Behind us are the stalls all the way up to the topmost and highest section. Since we are early, the seats are still empty although 15 minutes before the show begins, the place quickly fills up.

No photography allowed during the show. So just before the show begins, I take a quick snapshot of the orchestra section, which is completely full by this time.
Take note of the trompe d' oeil curtain of the Opera de Paris -- a flat curtain painted with realistic folds. Gold painted statues and trimmings adorn the walls -- it's over the top, opulent and super fabulous. I feel transported back to another era!
What an experience it is to be able to sit here and just bask in my surroundings.
And now, the orchestra starts to play...
The curtain rises -- time to watch the ballet!

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